I recently finished reading Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner. She has written some of the most consistently entertaining books I've read in a while, yet I didn't snatch this one up as soon as it came out. The reason is that Weiner (hee) strayed from her usual straight-up, humorous novels and wrote a mystery. I wasn't sure how well she'd pull it off or if I'd enjoy it.
In the book, Kate is a mother of three small kids who lives in the Pleasantville-like setting of Upchurch, CT.
She does not fit in at all with the other moms on the playground. While Kate is disheveled in sweats, the other moms look perfect in pressed wool pants and suede jackets. The other moms pass out organic veggies while Kate rummages in her bag for some crumbled cookies. She feels really out of place and inadequate. Then she finds Kitty, one of the most intimidating moms, dead on her kitchen floor, a knife in her back.
Kate finds herself wrapped up in the mystery, not only of how Kitty died, but also who exactly she was. Turns out there was a lot more to this perfect mother than there appeared to be.
I was engaged in the mystery plot, but even more, I just relished Weiner's (hee) humorous descriptions on life as a mom. There's a great scene in which Kate has a birthday party for her twin boys. She has games, punch, and a bowl of cheez curls that the other moms look at as if they are "severed fingers," then later discovers that she is in the land of competitive birthday parties and should have rented a fleet of ponies and clowns. Oops. There's also a great scene that takes place before Kate and her family move to the suburbs. Kate gets mugged and "stroller jacked" in a dark alley. She gives the mugger her diaper bag and has to explain that she doesn't have a purse- that's it. Then, while she holds "about 63 pounds of squirming toddler" in her arms, she has to teach the mugger how to fold the "easy one hand fold" $600 German engineered stroller. The description was so point on that I could see every bit of it in my head.
This was a fun book, one that I'm sure I'll enjoy re-reading.